I’m 61. I’ve been voting in Presidential elections for 40 years. I know what it feels like when my preferred candidate wins, or loses. Either way, life goes on.
This time, I’m afraid, is different.
I’m having a very difficult time coming to grips with the fact that my fellow countrymen have chosen someone so spectacularly unqualified, so repulsively narcissistic, so disrespectful of women, so crass and unstatesmanlike, so clearly unrepentant of his own shortcomings and character defects.
I’m worried. I’m afraid. I’m saddened. I’m disappointed. I’m angry.
I’m hoping for the best, but I’m fearing the worst.
As I always do in tough situations, I look to music to help me sort it all out. I search for songs that might help me work through these uncomfortable feelings.
Not surprisingly, I found several dozen songs with lyrics that capture the sadness, the dread, the defiance, the disbelief that enveloped me this week once I learned the results of the election. Good God, how did this happen?
I realize there are many millions who are thrilled by the outcome. To you, I would respectfully say that this week’s blog post is not for you. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how anyone could be happy that an egomaniacal know-nothing is about to become the most powerful person on the planet. (The rest of the world, by the way, is collectively saying, “WTF?!?”)
Just last week, coincidentally, I posted a list of songs with lyrics about life lessons, all of which urge us to “accentuate the positive,” as the old song goes. But before we can move on, we must grieve. It’s okay to feel sadness, fear, anger, resentment — for a short while, anyway. It’s cathartic, and beneficial. Listen to these tracks, let their messages wash over you. Have a good cry. Let it all out. And then, because it’s not healthy to dwell on negative feelings, we will move on…
Here is a setlist of songs to help people like me come to grips with what has happened.
“Sad Songs (Say So Much),” Elton John, 1984
“Guess there are times when we all need to share a little pain, and ironing out the rough spots is the hardest part when memories remain, and it’s times like these when we all need to hear the radio, ’cause from the lips of some old singer, we can share the troubles we already know…”
“Where is the Love,” Black-Eyed Peas, 2003
“So I could ask myself, what is really going wrong in this world that we’re livin’ in, people keep on givin’ in, making wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends, not respecting each other, deny thy brother, a war is goin’ on but the reason’s undercover, the truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug, if you never know truth, then you never know love, where’s the love, y’all? Where’s the truth, y’all?…”
“Darkness, Darkness,” The Youngbloods, 1969
“Darkness darkness, hide my yearning for the things that cannot be, keep my mind from constant turning toward the things I cannot see now… Darkness darkness, be my blanket, cover me with the endless night, take away the pain of knowing, fill the emptiness of right now…”
“Here Come Those Tears Again,” Jackson Browne, 1976
“Here come those tears again, now you’ll tell me how to hold them in, here come those tears again, some other time, when I’m strong and feeling fine, maybe when I can look at you without crying…”
“Rainy Day Man,” James Taylor, 1969
“Looks like another fall, your good friends they don’t seem to help at all, when you’re feeling kind of cold and small, look up your rainy day man, it does you no good to pretend, you’ve made a hole much too big to mend, and it looks like you lose again, my friend…”
“Dreaming from the Waist,” The Who, 1975
“I feel like I want to break out of the house, my heart is a-pumping, I’ve got sand in my mouth, I feel like I’m headed up to a cardiac arrest, I want to scream in the night, I want a manifest…”
“Bad Moon Rising,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969
“I see bad moon rising, I see trouble on the way, I see earthquakes and lightning, I see bad times today… I hear hurricanes blowing, I know the end is coming soon, I fear rivers overflowing, I hear the voice of rage and ruin…”
“It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” R.E.M., 1985
“World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed, dummy, with the rapture and the reverent and the right, right, you vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched, it’s the end of the world as we know it…”
“Worried About You,” The Rolling Stones, 1981
“Sweet things that you promised me seem to go up in smoke, yeah, vanish like a dream, I wonder why you do these things to me, ’cause I’m worried, and I just can’t seem to find my way…”
“There’s a Storm Comin,” Boz Scaggs, 2015
There’s a storm comin’, you better run, there’s a storm comin’, goodbye to the sun, there’s a storm comin’, you better run, boy, there’s a ship that’s sailing out in the night, there’s a heart that’s breaking, I think it’s mine…”
“The Wind Cries Mary,” Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967
“The traffic lights turn blue tomorrow, and shine their emptiness down on my bed, the tiny island sags downstream, ’cause the life that lived is dead, and the wind screams Mary…”
“Bad Weather,” Emily Hackett, 2014
“Just when I was healing, feeling good again, I shoulda known you’d come blowing back in, boarded all the windows, bolted all the doors, just to keep my heart far away from yours, I’ve seen Oklahoma summers bringing heavy wind and rain, and I know I should take cover at the mention of your name…”
“Welcome to My Nightmare,” Alice Cooper, 1975
“Welcome to my nightmare, yeah, welcome to my breakdown, I hope I didn’t scare you, that’s just the way we are when we come down, we sweat and laugh and scream here, ’cause life is just a dream here…”
“Long Time Gone,” Crosby Stills and Nash, 1969
“And it appears to be a long time, such a long long time before the dawn, speak out, you’ve got to speak out against the madness, you’ve got to speak your mind if you dare…”
“I’m on Fire,” Bruce Springsteen, 1984
“Sometimes it feels like someone took a knife, baby, edgy and dull, and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my soul, at night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet, and a freight train running through the middle of my head…”
“Feeling Sad Tonight,” Carole King, 1972
“Feeling sad tonight, but everything’s all right, and we’ll find some other place to go, feeling sad tonight, but everything’s all right, let’s turn all our cares down low…”
“All Things Must Pass,” George Harrison, 1970
“Now the darkness only stays the nighttime, in the morning it will fade away, daylight is good at arriving at the right time, it’s not always gonna be this grey, all things must pass, all things must pass away…”